Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, has said bandits are using the ransom payment they obtain from abductions to fund the terrorist group, Boko Haram.
Governor El-Rufai made the claim during an interview on Sunday.
According to the governor, a strong link has been established between the bandits terrorising the North-West region and the Boko Haram insurgents operating in the North-East.
“It has been established that the kidnapping operations (by bandits) are substantially funding Boko Haram activities in the North East,” Governor El-Rufai said on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
“Boko Haram has no way of getting any money and some of them have slipped and joined the ranks of the bandits, and together they are doing this to raise a large amount of money that are being used to fund the intensified operations of Boko Haram.”
The governor decried that banditry and insurgency have evolved with time into what he described as a business and a structured industry.
He explained that this was so as the criminals now have various specialised roles within their ranks which enable them to attack communities.
Kaduna State has become a hotbed for bandits in recent weeks, with a staggering increase in the number of abductions witnessed in the state.
Governor El-Rufai, however, said the reason why bandits are targeting the state is because his administration has refused to pay ransom to them for the various abductions they carried out.
He reiterated his stance that his administration will neither negotiate with bandits nor pay them any ransom.
He said: “We have a feeling that the renewed attacks in Kaduna are not unconnected to the position that we have taken as a government that we will not negotiate with criminals.
“We will not give them any money and they will not make any profit from Kaduna; anyone that comes to Kaduna will not get a penny from the state government, except he will get a bullet instead.”
The governor said he is confident that the state government will not have any reason to change his position as the military would wipe out the bandits from the region.
He stressed that the government would continue to protect the people of the state and their properties, no matter the antics of the bandits.
“The bandits and their leaders decided to collectively target Kaduna State because of the position we have taken that we will not negotiate with them, that we will not give them a penny of taxpayers’ money and whoever comes to Kaduna for banditry or kidnapping will most likely end up dead,” he said.
Although he stated that they were making efforts to rescue the 39 abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka, the governor declined to reveal the strategy of the government.